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Service commitment to Oiltanking

Close to the Finnish Russian border in Eastern Finland lies the small coastal city of Kotka. The city is of great significance to Finnish industry because it is the location of the country’s largest chemical storage and transportation facilities.

Built in 1989, the Kotka facility occupies three terminals containing 69 onshore storage tanks with a combined capacity of 216.070cbm and has 133 discharging/loading positions for rail tank cars and two jetties. The purpose of the facility is to discharge/load vessels,rail tank cars, containers and trucks into and from the onshore tanks. In addition, it provides direct shipment from and to vessels, rail tank cars and trucks.

Handling a wide range of petrochemicals, of which around 85% come in from Russia in railcars, for onward transportation around Europe the chemicals are held in storage for various lengths of time after being offloaded from railcars and vessels. Offloading and transferring chemicals around the plant is a potentially hazardous and complex process that requires more than 200 pumps, all of which must be in top operating condition at all times. Ensuring the ready availability of the pumps is the responsibility of AxFlow Finland, a job that requires continuous engineering support all-year-round.

Pumps being used
AxFlow offers Oiltanking a full range of service facilities for the many centrifugal, gear, AODD and magnetic drive pumps at the Kotka storage plant. The range of sizes and capacities of the pumps is considerable due to the large number of applications and the varying nature of the products being pumped. One common factor is that all pumps have to satisfy ATEX standards.
Oiltanking’s expectations are very high because of the demands on their operations. Their preference is to have a package of services that are supplied by a single supplier. This is because it gives them confidence in the services being provided and a good working
relationship with AxFlow’s personnel. The demands on the pumps and AxFlow are high because any lost time in servicing customers’ orders can cost many thousands of Euros for Oiltanking. Plus, there is the issue of the company’s reputation and image to consider. “We do not have the time to be looking over their shoulders all the time so we have to have confidence in AxFlow’s capabilities and working practices,” reports Lassi Jääskeläinen. “All work undertaken is recorded and can back to the engineer who has carried out the work.”
The nature of Oiltanking’s business means that it is always handling a considerable range of products at any one time. Some of the tanks can handle as many as six different chemicals in a year, so the pumps must be able to accommodate a wide variety of liquids. There are no pumps dedicated to a single chemical. The products can vary in their nature, meaning that issues such as corrosiveness, lubricity and high temperatures have to be addressed. Also to be taken into account are the operating conditions, particularly low temperatures, which can affect pump performance. It is a very tall demand.
When it comes to selecting and replacing pumps, Oiltanking has a very good knowledge of pump technologies, but it does consult with AxFlow where necessary. Oiltanking has been working with AxFlow for almost 20 years so they have learned a great deal about pumps, and equally AxFlow have gained a great deal of knowledge about the facility and the nature of Oiltanking’s business.
 
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